The Journal Gazette
Friday, March 27, 2020 1:00 am

Murder brings man 45 years in plea deal

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Juan J. Molina likely will spend the rest of his life in prison for stabbing a 75-year-old woman to death last year. 

Molina, 62, pleaded guilty to murder in the May 14 slaying of Sally Ann Duncan-Sanders inside her Lincolndale Avenue home, and he was sentenced Thursday to 45 years behind bars. He had been charged with murder, felony murder – one committed in the act of another felony – and robbery, but the other charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. 

In court, Molina said it was a robbery gone wrong. 

Indiana sentencing guidelines require those convicted of serious felonies to serve at least 75% of their sentence. For Molina, that means he'll be nearly 96 before he is eligible for release. 

Police were called to Duncan-Sanders' home and found her dead and covered in blood. Investigators said she had been stabbed multiple times. 

She filed a report in early 2019 about a suspicious person, and Molina was there when police arrived, according to court documents. Molina said at the time he had been with the woman's grandson and was helping the grandson remove property from Duncan-Sanders' home, the documents say. 

Months later, a woman who had gone to Lincolndale Avenue with Molina told police she saw him covered in blood and carrying a knife, a probable cause affidavit says. The woman reportedly drove him to a garage where he apparently lived, and Molina changed clothes and put away the knife. 

Police sad they found him with a black eye, a scratch on his neck and several cuts on his hands, which were bandaged. 

Molina maintained his innocence and sent a letter in February to Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull, claiming he couldn't have committed the crime because he is “100% disabled” and has arthritis in his hands. He also asked to fire his attorney and represent himself at trial, but Molina later changed his mind. 

Duncan-Sanders worked as an apartment manager for more than 30 years and enjoyed knitting and crocheting – especially blankets for children, according to an obituary.

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